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Test Pressing

Phil South In Conversation With DJ Nature / Groovotica / Golf Channel

Test Pressing, Interviews, Phil South, DJ Nature, Golf Channel, Groovotica

This project has been brewing a long time right? Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind it and how it’s translated into the 3 musical elements included: the mix CD, the original tracks and the edits?

It has been a project that I have wanted to do for a long time indeed, and I guess it came from my appreciation to those who have showed me love since contining as DJ Nature. The feedback has been humbling and I really wanted it to be for that handful of people who really get what I’m doing on all aspects of my output. I also wanted it to be like a homage to a very influential time in my growth, that being the `70s. Back then music was made with soul and feeling. The box set is based around the mix really and the atmosphere of the `70s porn industry. As a teen I would watch one of these videos and what excited me more than the act was the incredible Disco soundtrack in the background. So the mix is like my take on an adult video form the `70s.

Let’s talk about the artwork. You had a very specific theme in mind. What was that and how did you go about putting that into practice?

The artwork was based on the Swedish Erotica movie series and the photograph I found is from a talented Japanese Photographer called Shigeki Tamura. I just thought that photo in particular had the right atmosphere for the project.

You always collaborate with highly accomplished musicians for the solos. Can you tell us a little bit about the players on these 3 new tracks?

Yes I use pretty much the same guys on most of my material: Willie Williams (winds), Fred McFarlane (keys) and I started using Ron Pacaud on guitar on this project. The great thing about these guys is that they are completely open, versatile and extremely experienced. I am not a player myself. I cannot play any instrument which is why I work very slow. It takes me 2 weeks to do what these guys can do in 10 minutes, but when I get an idea I have to get it down fast and try and write the keyboard part the best I can. For the most part I am happy with the outcome. Even though taking it to these guys to play on is bit worrisome, because they have to try and make sense out of my messed up attempts at playing. It worked out though and they without question transform a decent track into something I don’t mind listening to over and over. I would also like to say that these guys are the last of a certain breed of musicians that actually play with soul and feeling. It’s something that is of great importance to me, because you cannot replicate it. They came from an era of great pain and suffering, and those experiences have shaped the way they play and what they play. Folks who have started playing instruments in the last 30 years will not play with the same feeling because their struggles are not as profound in the general sense. So it was important for me to use musicians form this era, because they will never be replaced.

Can you give a few examples of what these musicians have on their C.V.’s? It’s some pretty heavy stuff as I recall.

Fred co-wrote Robin S` “Show Me Love”, Fonda Rae`s “Over Like A Fat Rat”, and Jocelyn Brown`s “Somebody Else’s Guy”. He sessioned on most of the Shep Pettibone / Madonna early stuff, then with the Fatback Band, Crown Heights Affair, Unlimited Touch, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Mary J Blige to name a few. He was also in the bands Logg and D-Train. Willie Williams performed with Art Blakey, Charles Earland, Groove Holmes, Jackie Byard as well as others.

How do you direct the players? Is it hard as a non-musician to instruct or does that make it easier?

I don’t really direct them! I usually go with bunch of songs that I feel I need a certain instrument on, say tenor, flute, guitar, keyboard or piano and let them do their thing . Everything is pretty much done in the first take and I never leave the studio unhappy. I basically just bring a basic groove and let them play on it how they feel fit and re-construct and mix the parts back in my studio. There are the odd times where I say let`s do another take with a different feel, but everything is pretty much on the money the first time, that’s why I work with the same guys. It’s not hard to instruct because I know what I want and I’m a little hard headed when it comes to that, but luckily with the guys I use it’s been incredibly easy.

You seem very inspired by film dialogue & spoken word both in the mix and on the 3 new tracks, how do you find these snippets? Do you have certain directors that you look out for? Certain periods of movies? Actors?

I don’t really have certain directors or actors. Periods are important because attitudes were different and the way people talked in the `70s in particular was different. Of course this box set is based on a certain topic, which is basically sex and sexual politics. It is not the main focus but part of a complete scene, the others being musical and visual stimulation. So I take snippets that I feel are interesting opinions or just funny. When you don’t use vocalists on your projects and vocal samples are harder to come by, I find this a good tool to build the atmosphere I am trying to set for the music. So I basically sift through a load of different stuff, some modern foreign movies where they have a different more balanced approach to sex, to some tacky `70s stuff.

Tell us a bit about the vibe of the mix? I like how it’s so raw and live sounding yet parts are super intricate little exclusive edit styles.

Well I wanted to present a complete sexual experience for the ears! The foreplay of the slow tracks in the beginning, to the predictable crescendo at the end. Those bass-lines are pure sex to me personally, I don’t expect them to have the same affect on everyone, only those on the same vibe. That’s why I only pressed 300 of the box set ! Ha ha ha!

I read somewhere else where they asked you about sex, all that moaning and chit chat about sex is really at the forefront here. Who else do you think makes sexy modern music?

Well as I said before dancing is nothing but part of the sexual experience if we are to be totally honest, so I just get a little more to the point and try and make people think a little deeper with at least some of the material I use in regards to vocal snippets. For example the song “Gentle Persuasion” is basically two people experimenting in a relationship, where the woman is taking the upper hand. Now in some parts of the world that may be a normal thing, but in the black community the bedroom is pretty much a male dominated playground, which I find fucked up. So when I came across this interaction I was over the moon, in fact it kind of kick started me into a creative frenzy. The thing is I don’t want people to think that’s the only thing on my mind, but if it’s realistic and people can relate to it I’ll use it.

Interest piqued? You can pre-order the “Groovotica” box-set from Pacific Beach in the U.S., Capricious and Japonica in Japan, and Piccadilly and Phonica in the E.U.

If you can`t wait and are interested in hearing more I will be playing one of the originals and one of the edits on my radio show The Remedy this Saturday.

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